Wednesday's soccer news starts with the latest issue for UEFA and its Champions League. The NY Times has spent two days reporting on Manchester City's financial compliance issues, with the potential for UEFA to ban the Premier League champions from the Champions League. This comes at a time when the format of the Champions League itself is in question, with Europe's super clubs pushing for what amounts to a closed league with limited promotion and relegation.
The NY Times' Rory Smith updates the situation with Manchester City and the broader proposed changes for the Champions League. The Guardian's Marina Hyde questions how UEFA fines and punishes clubs for violating their regulations.
Simply put, how UEFA chooses to address the Manchester City issue will be telling for all of Europe's super clubs. It could also send the type of message that has those super clubs seriously reconsidering their futures.
UEFA is disciplinarian has real limits these days. The risk of a breakaway European super league remains, regardless of how much adjusting UEFA does to the Champions League. Those readjustments risk alienating the audience that enjoys the Champions League for what it represents rather than what it is. Even now, it's still a meritocracy that doesn't completely shutout the clubs in leagues outside of the top four or five. It now seems like it's a when rather than if that changes, and with it the scope of European competition.
This isn't a new scenario for Europe and it's worth the reminder how much UEFA closed off the Champions League this season. The reward for a lot of league champions in Europe is the summer qualifying schedule just to get a chance at the limited number of spots available in the group stage. That adds extra games and the pressure that goes with them before and during the start of the domestic league season. It's a big ask from UEFA, and they're chasing it with an even bigger one.
It's no surprise that the focus is strongly on Manchester City right now. The bigger issue for UEFA are the clubs they already all but leave out of any serious consideration for their biggest prize. Right now, it's hard to see that situation as getting anything but worse.
Also in the soccer news, the USMNT will play for the title at the Concacaf U-17 Championship, beating Canada 4-0 in the semifinals. The USMNT plays Mexico on May 16 (7:30pm ET - Univision Deportes). Bryang Kayo opened the scoring for the US in the 47th minute with Gio Reyna doubling the lead in the 64th. Ricardo Pepi added goals in the 78th and 82nd minutes. USMNT goalkeeper Chituru Odunze made five saves to keep the clean sheet.
Yahoo's Doug McIntyre updates the situation for USMNT players in Europe with Tyler Adams back from injury. ESPN's Jeff Carlisle looks at New England hiring Bruce Arena as coach and sporting director. The Athletic's Paul Tenorio with what Arena faces with the Revolution job. Goal.com's Ives Galarcep considers Arena's choice to take the New England job. Pro Soccer USA's Tristan D'Amours has MLS commissioner Don Garber's comments on charter flights. The Washington Post's Steven Goff on DC United's schedule issues.
The Independent's Miguel Delaney asks why UEFA put the Europa League final in Baku.
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